Thirteen of the 15 immigration officers who were sacked over alleged involvement in the issuance of Kenyan documents to illegal immigrants got a court reprieve on Wednesday.
An industrial court in Nairobi stopped their sacking pending the determination of a petition they lodged against the government.
The latest twist has set the stage for a legal battle between the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Co-ordination of National Government.
Joseph Ole Lenku who announced their sacking over the media last Friday, saying their actions had compromised the country’s security and the petitioners.
They moved to court under a certificate of urgency, saying they were apprehensive criminal charges may soon follow the cabinet secretary’s oral decree.
Through lawyer Peter King’ara they said they were seeking redress on grounds that, apart from the verbal notice via the media, “they had not received dismissal letters and, or, any other communication from the public service” regarding their status at the immigration department.
Lady justice Maureen Onyango certified the petition as urgent and ordered the status quo be maintained until the date for a joint parties hearing on November 1.
“The employees are apprehensive of their intimated prosecution and have enjoined the director of prosecutions and the CID as respondents,” the laywer said.
They want the two stopped from preferring criminal charges against them following Mr Lenku’s press briefing.
Last week, the government said it had fired 15 senior and mid-level immigration officers following the Westgate terror attack.
Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Co-ordination of National Government Joseph ole Lenku alledged the officers were involved in the issuance of Kenyan documents to illegal immigrants.
While, addressing the media at Harambee House on Friday, Lenku said the officails compromised the security of the country.
He intimated that the officails would appear in court to face the law “once investigations into their activities is complete.”
The Interior Secretary also revealed that a national purge in all government departments to stump out corrupt government officials was in the offing.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let me state this loud and clear; the purge that has started today will extend to many other government departments,” he was quoted saying.
Lenku also said the government will carry out an audit of ID cards and passports issued in the country in the last two years.
He said the process was meant to flush out all those who have been issued with illegal passports and other identification documents.